Historical Jewish quarters in Kaišiadorys

WORTH TO VISIT:

History of Kaišiadorys town is a unique exception in the history of Lithuanian Jews – Jews have started to settle here since the very beginning of the establishment of the town. This unusual situation was caused by the relatively late establishment of Kaišiadorys – only in the second half of the 19th century next to the newly built railway the town have emerged. This railway – a symbol of success for that time tradesmen and craftsmen –  attracted newcomers. Due to their prosperous activities Jews of Kaišiadorys had a high social status between other ethnic or religious communities, their neighbors called them “noblemen of Jerusalem”.

HISTORICAL GLANCE:

In the end of the 19th century, after only one and a half century since the town`s establishment, Jews have already constituted about two thirds of Kaišiadorys citizens, and most of them lived in the oldest part of the town and in the territory of the previous Jatkoniai village. Current street of Vytautas Didysis was rented only by Jews – most of the man, who lived on this street were craftsman, and their women wifes either in the shops or in inns. During the interwar period in Trakai and Vytautas Didysis streets several Jewish restaurants were established, but the most visited and praised was restaurant “Gintaras” (en. “Amber”) in Trakai street owned by Zlata Šimokovičienė. Jewish traders from Kaišiadorys were well-know in all the region, regular costumers came to them even from neighboring towns. Inhabitants of Kaišiadorys shtetl were active not only in trade, they were very involved into public activities, participated in various sports` or cultural organizations, especially popular among them being Zionist gatherings.

It is worth mentioning, that in 1884 Jewish community in the town was the first of all religious communities to build its own prayer house in the crossroads of Vilnius and Vytautas Didysis streets. Only after this synagogue has been built other religious communities hurried up to secure permissions for building their own prayer houses.

THE CURRENT SITUATION:

Although due to the destroying fires and the enormous losses of the Second World War today we are not able to see the actual Jewish heritage in Kaišiadorys, it revived only in sporadic memory of local seniors. However, the whole of the old part of the town and previous village of Jaktoniai, which were later administratively attached to the town, – it is the space, in which local Jewish community lived and prospered just less than half century ago. Now this Jewish community is only officially remembered by the monuments in the mass executions places built during the Soviet times.

LOOKING AROUND:

Historical quarters of Žasliai

Wooden synagogue of Žiežmariai

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